Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon, who spent more than 17 years on Florida's death row before his exoneration, will speak about his experience Jan. 12 at Indiana University School of Law - Indianapolis. A documentary about his time on death row will also be shown.
Melendez-Colon will speak at 12:30 p.m. in the Conour Atrium at the law school. The documentary about his time on death row, "Juan Melendez 6446," will be shown at 4:30 p.m., also in the atrium. The event is free and open to the public.
Melendez-Colon is the 99th death row inmate in the country to be exonerated since 1973. He was released from prison in 2002 after it came to light that the real killer had confessed to the crime and told at least 16 people that Melendez-Colon wasn't involved. A judge reversed his conviction and ordered a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, and the state declined to pursue a new trial because it no longer had any evidence to support a conviction. Previously, Melendez-Colon's conviction and death sentence were upheld on appeal three times by the Florida Supreme Court.
Since his release, Melendez-Colon has traveled throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe sharing his story. He's a board member on the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and Witness to Innocence, a steering committee member of the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty, and an international spokesperson for the Association in Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted.
Also attending will be Melendez-Colon's lawyer, Judi Caruso, a criminal defense attorney and human rights activist originally from Ireland. She is also director of the Juan Melendez Voices United for Justice.
The event is sponsored by the IU School of Law - Indianapolis' Students Against Capital Punishment.